Is alcohol and community sport a good mix? Alcohol management, consumption and social capital in community sports clubs

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Community sports clubs provide an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of individuals and the community; however, they have also been associated with risky alcohol consumption. This study assessed whether a club's alcohol management strategies were related to risky alcohol consumption by members and levels of social capital, as measured in terms of participation in and perceived safety of the club.


A total of 723 sports club members from 33 community football clubs in New South Wales, Australia, completed a computer assisted telephone interview (CATI) and a management representative from each club also completed a CATI. The club representative reported on the club's implementation of 11 alcohol management practices, while club members reported their alcohol consumption and perceived levels of safety at the club and participation in the club.


A structural equation model identified having the bar open for more than four hours; having alcohol promotions; and serving intoxicated patrons were associated with increased risky alcohol consumption while at the club; which in turn was associated with lower levels of perceived club safety and member participation.

Conclusion and implications:

The positive contribution of community sports clubs to the community may be diminished by specific inadequate alcohol management practices. Changing alcohol management practices can reduce alcohol consumption, and possibly increase perceived aspects of social capital, such as safety and participation.

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